04 October 2005

The Battle of Salamis

I usually read four or five books at the same time. I just started on this very readable narrative of the Battle of Salamis two days ago. I expect to finish this in two or three days' time.

Two notables: The exodus of the whole Athenian population to Salamis and a few other locations. This uprooting totalled over 150 000 people and it was a massive undertaking.

The Athenians voted for a huge increase in their military, expanding their fleet to at least 180 triremes. This changed Athens. From a minor power, Athens became the largest naval power in ancient Greece. For this undertaking, the Athenians had obviously voted in the funds before 480 B.C.

Aegina, one of Athens neighbours and rivals, was apparently a greater naval power until recently. (Two to three years ago.)

I finally read Paul Kennedy's 'The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers' from cover to cover after reading it on and off since 1987. I have a tendency to do that with Paul Kennedy's books, especially the interesting chapters. For instance, I have read the chapters on the three Anglo-Dutch Wars and the First World War in 'The Rise and Fall of British Naval Mastery' and most of the chapters concerning the First World War and the arms race of the interwar years in 'Strategy and Diplomacy'. More on 'The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers' later.

"This burning sky that we call home
In the end we stand alone
Come alive
Come alive
'Everything must perish' Front Line Assembly

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